A dental implant is a metal screw that is placed in your jaw to replace the root structure of a natural tooth. Your bone will grow into the thread of the metal screw securing it in place. During this stage of the process you will wear a provisional denture for appearance and to prevent your teeth on either side of the space drifting in.
When healing is complete and the implant is secure, a crown will be constructed to attach to the implant. This stage is a very similar process to having a crown made for a natural tooth.
Once your crown is fitted, you will have an artificial root and tooth functioning the same as your natural tooth once did. Like your natural teeth, you will need to maintain strict oral hygiene care and attend regular dental visits. This will keep your gums healthy around the implant and prevent bone loss that would affect the long-term success of your implant.
Dental implants can also be used to secure and stabilise complete dentures. Instead of placing a crown on the implant, a denture is made with attachments that connect to the implant/s and act to stabilise your denture and prevent it from moving. It is also possible to make an implant supported bridge that is similar to a regular bridge, but it is supported by implants instead of natural teeth.